The purpose was to evaluate supine/left decubitus as an alternative to supine/prone scanning in computed tomographic colonography (CT colonography). Fifty patients were randomised to supine/prone, another 50 to supine/left decubitus scanning. Patients were scanned using a single-slice CT scanner. The colon was divided into eight segments. Comparisons of distension, breathing artefacts, residus and polyp detection were made between the two groups, as well as between the different positions. Adequate distension was found in approximately 85%, 97% and 95% of segments in the supine, prone and left decubitus positions, respectively. Combined scanning increased the percentage of adequate distension to 98.5% for prone-supine and 97.7% for left decubitus-supine scanning (P<.0005 compared to supine, P=.001 compared to left decubitus and P=.046 compared to prone scanning). Absence of residual material was found in approximately 62.7%, 69.7% and 64% of segments in the supine, prone and left decubitus positions, respectively. Combined scanning increased this percentage to approximately 99% for both groups. No significant differences towards distension or residual material were found between combined supine-prone or supine-left decubitus scanning. In the supine-prone group, combined scanning additionally revealed four lesions and improved conspicuity in two cases of stalked polyps. In the supine-left decubitus group, combined scanning additionally revealed two lesions and improved conspicuity in one stalked polyp. There were significantly fewer breathing artefacts with left decubitus scanning than prone scanning (P=.005). A strong positive correlation was found between breathing artefacts and the age of patients in both patient groups. Colonic distension and preparation is improved by using supine and prone or supine and left decubitus scanning in combination, with a subsequent improved polyp detection. There were no significant differences between the two scanning protocols. Prone scanning, however, is hampered by breathing artefacts, especially in the elderly. Therefore, supine-left decubitus scanning is considered a valuable alternative to supine-prone scanning for the elderly.
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